Pharmacies are not only a place to have your prescription filled, but they also offer many valuable services that can be beneficial to patients. Some of these services include patients meeting with a pharmacist to have a MedsCheck, and discuss medication regimes, and any medication or health concerns they may have; receiving flu shots from a pharmacist instead of waiting at a doctor’s office; or attending various health clinics. Pharmacies offer many different health clinics, whether it be to help a patient manage a disease such as with a diabetes clinic, or offer advice and products on quitting smoking with a smoking cessation clinic, or provide information about how to have a healthy vacation at a travel health clinic, to name a few.
Travel health clinics are useful to inform patients of any health risks, vaccination needs, and how to manage current medications while away on international travel. At travel health clinics, patients receive counselling with a pharmacist on the recommended and required vacations for traveling abroad, to prevent illnesses such as cholera, European tick-born encephalitis, hepatitis, influenza, Japanese encephalitis, meningitis, rabies, typhoid, and yellow fever. Patients learn about the prevention and treatment of insect borne diseases, such as malaria, as well as other common travel associated ailments like traveler’s diarrhea, airplane sickness, dealing with extreme temperatures, sunburns, and being aware of food and water precautions. Patients who are currently on medications and will be traveling may also have a MedsCheck at a travel health clinic. This allows patients to receive a full list of their medications in case of emergencies, or for documentation at customs. They can also to be shown how to modify their medication schedule for different time zones, and avoid drug interactions with any over-the-counter products they may be bringing on their vacation. Travel health clinics can also provide information about traveling while pregnant, and discuss the importance of travel insurance. Some pharmacies may include a travel checklist at their travel health clinic, listing recommended over-the-counter products (ie: anti-motion sickness or anti-diarrheal medications, sunscreen, bug spray) to ensure patients have a safe and healthy vacation.
Pharmacy technicians play an important role to make sure travel health clinics run smoothly. Prior to a clinic, they can aid in letting patients know about upcoming clinic dates, book appointments, and gather patient information to create patient records for the pharmacist. Pharmacy technicians can ensure there is adequate stock of over-the-counter products that patients may be advised to purchase, and also of travel specific prescription medications, such as vaccinations and anti-malarials. They can prepare any information handouts or pamphlets needed for the day of the clinic. During a clinic, pharmacy technicians allow the pharmacist to be uninterrupted during patient appointments by managing pharmacy customers, incoming prescriptions, and taking phone calls and messages. After each appointment, pharmacy technicians can handle the billing and payment for patients, and direct patients to any desired over-the-counter products that the pharmacist recommended.
Travel health clinics are great to assist patients in having a healthy and safe vacation. They are one of many additional ways pharmacies play an important role in patients’ overall health.